The Japanese Foreign Ministry put a video on YouTube on Oct. 16 to promote Tokyo's colonial claim to Korea's Dokdo islets. The move comes amid a wider lurch to the far right by the Abe administration which has chilled ties with Japan's neighbors to freezing point.
Tokyo wants to make another video before the end of this year promoting the term "Sea of Japan" for the body of water that divides Korea and Japan.
The video, which lasts for about a minute and a half, shows photos, maps and documents related to Dokdo claiming that Japan established territorial sovereignty over the islets in the 17th century and the Japanese Cabinet made it official in 1905.
It explains neither the 300-year time lapse nor that 1905 was the year of the Eulsa Protectorate Treaty, whereby Korea under duress ceded diplomatic sovereignty to Japan.
It also claims that in 1952, Korean strongman Syngman Rhee unilaterally drew a territorial boundary line and illegally took control of the islets.
The video says Japan wants to solve the issue peacefully and put the matter to the International Court of Justice three times, but failed because the Korean government refused to engage.
The Foreign Ministry here demanded that Tokyo immediately remove the video and summoned the Chief of Mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Takashi Kurai, to lodge a protest.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-yong said in a statement that the "absurd claim" is an attempt to "damage Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo."
He added that the Japanese government must realize that such "historically inaccurate and anachronistic provocations" are the reason why bilateral relations are in the doldrums.
The Japanese government also claims sovereignty over Dokdo in its defense white paper and school textbooks.
Seoul is on the whole trying not to play to Tokyo's attempts to elevate the issue into a bona-fide territorial dispute, but that rather ties its hands when it comes to countering the campaign.
Any protest at higher level, like summoning the ambassador or a statement from President Park Geun-hye, would both dignify the flimsy claim and damage ties even further.
The move comes ahead of diplomatic and military talks between Korea and Japan that are to resume next month after a four-year hiatus.